Patna, May 12 (IANS) Voting began for eight seats in the Bhojpuri-speaking north Bihar belt on Sunday amid reports of a freak incident in Sheohar where a voter was injured by a stray bullet fired from a home guard’s rifle. There was also delay in polling at some booths due to EVM glitches.
In the first hour, long queues of men and women were seen outside the booths under a summer sun as heat wave surged through the area.
According to officials, more than 1.38 lakh voters would decide the fate of 127 candidates in Gopalganj, Siwan, Maharajganj, East Champaran, West Champaran, Valmiki Nagar, Sheohar and Vaishali constituencies.
The Sheohar voter was seriously injured as the bullet hit him in the stomach, said a district police official. The voter fell down at the polling booth and was rushed to a hospital.
Heavy security arrangements have been made with three helicopters requisitioned to provide air cover to the forces. The India-Nepal border has also been sealed.
“In the initial polling, women in large number were seen standing outside polling booths. They aimed to escape the scorching sun and hot winds (loo) later in the day,” a poll official said.
Reports of problems with Electronic Voting Machines were received from several booths in Darbhanga, Begusarai, Samastipur and Munger. So far voting though has been peaceful, the official added.
Stakes are high for the ruling BJP-led NDA is high in the penultimate phase as it aims to retain all these seats it won in the last elections.
For the opposition’s Grand Alliance, its a win-win situation as it eyes to gain some seats with nothing to lose.